The passing of a wordsmith: RIP Harold Pinter 10/10/1930-12/24/2008

Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter passed away yesterday from cancer. He was 78. Some words from a legend:

Good writing excites me, and makes life worth living.

Apart from the known and the unknown, what else is there?

Occasionally it does hit me, the words on a page. And I still love doing that, as I have for the last 60 years.

One way of looking at speech is to say it is a constant stratagem to cover nakedness.

I don’t intend to simply go away and write my plays and be a good boy. I intend to remain an independent and political intelligence in my own right.

There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.

This particular nurse said, Cancer cells are those which have forgotten how to die. I was so struck by this statement.

I ought not to speak about the dead because the dead are all over the place.

The Next Stage loves you

If you can judge the success of a venture on the quality of those who take notice of it, the The Next Stage has had a very successful year indeed.

Please accept our sincerest thanks for your continued interest and support in the independent theatre and in our little corner of it, we’re thrilled about continuing our relationship with you in the coming year and getting into even deeper discussion about our shared passion.

Merry Christmas everyone, have a wonderful holiday. Here’s to another year of continued growth and envelope pushing.

I’ll leave the last word to our favourite board-trotting pig…


Hamlet by Harry Venning: Week 52, 1991

City Council unanimously approves York Theatre protection!

Reprinted from the Georgia Straight:

Vancouver City Council voted unanimously this morning to save the York Theatre, agreeing to a 100 percent density transfer for the site.

Staff had recommended only a one-third density transfer, which advocates working to secure the theatre’s future said would effectively kill plans to save the venue.

Now all that’s left is for developer Bruce Wall to negotiate a deal with current property owner Paul Phillips, head of Vintage Development Corp., before January 15, when a 120-day protection order from the city expires.

Congratulations to Heather and Deb at the Cultch for their successful appeal to city council. We’re proud of you!

You know, there isn’t enough poetry about arts administration

First, dig this:

Live Were Around Me is an intimate, guided tour for an audience of three, a site-specific, roving theatre work that explores the notions of history and evidence in the context of the historic centre of Vancouver. Live Were Around Me is David’s toast to this city, a libation of place and experience, utilizing the Coroner’s City Examination Room, performances by Adrienne Wong, Paul Ternes, Aleister Murphy, and the city itself.

Your drink is provided.

The David mentioned in the above is David McIntosh, a playwright/performer who, along with Lee Su-Feh, founded the Vancouver company Battery Opera. Lives Were Around Me is his new piece, it premiers January 6 at the Alibi Room. How great does this sound? A “site-specific, roving theatre work” for an audience of three? Yes, please.

Mr. McIntosh also writes poetry, a fact I discovered whilst perusing his personal web site: David’s Battery Opera Blog. On this blog he has published the following poem, which filled me with such glee that I’m left with no choice but to reprint it here:

Now I am an administrator

Over here at the office, there have been a few changes. I have
moved myself from one column to another
and Now I am an administrator.

I used to think there were not enough arts administrators
then I thought there were far too many,
“There is far too much management in the arts – seriously”, I said,
but now that I am an administrator,
my very own personal Sherrie Johnson clone,
I fear I may be too much for myself.

Will I be two times as desperate for validation from an uncaring world?
Will I hate myself for making difficult to explain, hard to sell art?
Things that my mother hates?

Will I start talking about legacies so that I can justify ‘what I do’ with
tawdry half-assed structures instead of working under the loathed
corpse of the artist who is supposed to be inhabiting my imagined
future with Outstanding Extraordinary Excellence?
Let him fuck himself! He is obviously unworthy of my supportive
efforts so let’s forget the art and turn our attentions to legacies and
the community. Community. You know? The clique. Then I think,
“fuck that shit, creativity is it’s own legacy!”.

If I fired the artist, I’d be out of a sector
and a job. If the sector vanished, that little fucker artist would still keep making shit.

Now I am an administrator
It’s hard to sleep with myself.

On the street outside the office a group of architects were looking at
the architectural panel screens that are being erected on the exterior
of the new Woodwards high rise. They are rust red metal and have
identical lacy, organic-ish, designs. Like scabs.
I said, “It looks like your building has a sexually transmitted disease.”

It must have picked it up at the olympic corporate cluster fuck.

Hey Everybody! Invite me to your arts administrator/managers meetings!

I’m a barrel of laughs.

I’m changing the office motto to “Do What You Want To Do” .

It may seem less worldly than “BE PATIENT,THE WORLD IS STUPID”
(motto#1), or “TAKE RISKS,THE WORLD IS CHANGING” (motto#2)-
but it feels right for me, for now.

Like I’m not seeing this guy’s new work.

The Cultch’s last stand to save The York, and how you can help


The Vancouver East Cultural Centre has been battling to save Commercial Drive’s historic York Theatre from demolition, thereby depriving Vancouver of another stunning medium-sized heritage cultural venue. I previously wrote about efforts to save the York, and about some of its history on Beyond Robson.

The Cultch has found a benefactor who is willing to purchase the property and completely restore it to its former glory in exchange for a city-granted density increase on another property. They have run into a speed bump, however, and are asking for the public’s help. A staff report being sent to city council on Thursday, December 18th recommends only partial support for the project, as opposed to the 100% support of the density increase needed to save the York.

If you are interested in showing your support for preserving the York and can head down to City Hall on the 18th, click here for the Cultch’s Facebook event page to find out more details.

Photo of the York Theatre (most recently the Raja theatre) courtesy of Flickr user SqueakyMarmot.

H/T to Deb at Shameless Hussy for the link.

Today’s post will be hosted from Toronto


During a visit to China this past Summer I managed to fill a bunch of otherwise-blank space here on TNS through the generosity of a bunch of very smart and agreeable guest bloggers. Among their number was Ian Mackenzie, the in-house marketer for Toronto’s Praxis Theatre, and long-time author of the Canadian super-blog; Theatre is Territory. Response to Ian’s post was instant and lively, and generated some of the best comment conversation The Next Stage has ever seen. If you haven’t read it and you’re involved in independent theatre in any way, please do so post-haste, it’s simply mandatory reading.

After the piece ran, Ian asked me to return the favour, you can read the results of that little request over on the Praxis site today.

I love this idea of guest posting, I think it might make us converse outside of our normal at-home comfort zones, and open up new ideas to a different audience. And it’s kind of like inviting company over for good conversation. A little more formal, and a little more challenging.

If anyone out there in the theatre blog galaxy, either blogger or reader, feels that they would like to have a chat with the audience of The Next Stage, please drop me a line either in the comments below or directly to me at vanstage(at)gmail(dot)com. We’d love to have you over.